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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Mahrez hints how poor record vs Cameroon might have helped Algeria

09:54 IST 26/03/2022
Riyad Mahrez Algeria vs Sierra Leone Africa Cup of Nations 2021
The Manchester City attacker is happy with the win at Japoma Stadium but insists there is work to be done

Algeria striker Riyad Mahrez has hinted their poor record against Cameroon, prior to Friday's playoff first leg in the World Cup qualifiers, was a motivation.

On Friday, the Indomitable Lions had come into the game as favourites having lost none of their previous five meetings against the Desert Warriors. They had secured three wins and two draws.

However, they were undone by a first-half strike by Islam Slimani, who headed in a free-kick after 40 minutes to ensure the former Africa Cup of Nations champions claimed a vital 1-0 win.

Mahrez insists the tie is not over but went on to express his delight by helping the team win away from home.

"We don't think it is over. We won with a lot of desire. There is a second game in Blida under different circumstances. Nothing is played, everything remains open," the Manchester City attacker said as quoted by Dzballon.

"I had seen the statistics before the game. I think we were 100% ready. Records are made to be broken. Even the Japoma [Stadium], I heard a lot about it. We love this stadium."

By getting the winner on Friday, Slimani has been involved in 10 out of the last 11 goals Algeria have scored. The towering attacker has managed to hit the back of the net nine times and provided one assist.

It was his 40th goal for the national team in 84 appearances. He has now scored 27 goals in competitive matches making him the top scorer for Algeria, ahead of Abdelhafid Tastaout who scored 26 in competitive matches.

"Slimani is a great striker. I think he scored his 40th goal [at Japoma Stadium]…well, I know because he tells me that every day. We're glad he's with us," Mahrez concluded.

Algeria are keen on making amends after a poor show in the 2021 Afcon where they exited in the group stage. Before the tournament, they had gone 34 matches without tasting defeat.

For the Indomitable Lions, Tuesday's meeting in the second leg provides an opportunity for his team to try and get the needed result if they are to make it for the World Cup in Qatar.